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1.
Viruses ; 14(4)2022 03 22.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1753696

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused by infection of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants has posed serious threats to global public health, thus calling for the development of potent and broad-spectrum antivirals. We previously designed and developed a peptide-based pan-coronavirus (CoV) fusion inhibitor, EK1, which is effective against all human CoVs (HCoV) tested by targeting the HCoV S protein HR1 domain. However, its relatively short half-life may limit its clinical use. Therefore, we designed, constructed, and expressed a recombinant protein, FL-EK1, which consists of a modified fibronectin type III domain (FN3) with albumin-binding capacity, a flexible linker, and EK1. As with EK1, we found that FL-EK1 could also effectively inhibit infection of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants, as well as HCoV-OC43. Furthermore, it protected mice from infection by the SARS-CoV-2 Delta variant and HCoV-OC43. Importantly, the half-life of FL-EK1 (30 h) is about 15.7-fold longer than that of EK1 (1.8 h). These results suggest that FL-EK1 is a promising candidate for the development of a pan-CoV fusion inhibitor-based long-acting antiviral drug for preventing and treating infection by current and future SARS-CoV-2 variants, as well as other HCoVs.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , SARS-CoV-2 , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , COVID-19/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Fibronectin Type III Domain , Half-Life , Mice , Recombinant Fusion Proteins , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/chemistry , Viral Fusion Protein Inhibitors/pharmacology
2.
Viruses ; 14(3)2022 03 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1732247

ABSTRACT

Our previous studies have shown that cholesterol-conjugated, peptide-based pan-coronavirus (CoV) fusion inhibitors can potently inhibit human CoV infection. However, only palmitic acid (C16)-based lipopeptide drugs have been tested clinically, suggesting that the development of C16-based lipopeptide drugs is feasible. Here, we designed and synthesized a C16-modified pan-CoV fusion inhibitor, EK1-C16, and found that it potently inhibited infection by SARS-CoV-2 and its variants of concern (VOCs), including Omicron, and other human CoVs and bat SARS-related CoVs (SARSr-CoVs). These results suggest that EK1-C16 could be further developed for clinical use to prevent and treat infection by the currently circulating MERS-CoV, SARS-CoV-2 and its VOCs, as well as any future emerging or re-emerging coronaviruses.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus , COVID-19/drug therapy , Humans , Lipopeptides/pharmacology , Palmitic Acid/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2
5.
Int J Mol Sci ; 22(21)2021 Nov 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1488619

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection poses a serious threat to global public health and the economy. The enzymatic product of cholesterol 25-hydroxylase (CH25H), 25-Hydroxycholesterol (25-HC), was reported to have potent anti-SARS-CoV-2 activity. Here, we found that the combination of 25-HC with EK1 peptide, a pan-coronavirus (CoV) fusion inhibitor, showed a synergistic antiviral activity. We then used the method of 25-HC modification to design and synthesize a series of 25-HC-modified peptides and found that a 25-HC-modified EK1 peptide (EK1P4HC) was highly effective against infections caused by SARS-CoV-2, its variants of concern (VOCs), and other human CoVs, such as HCoV-OC43 and HCoV-229E. EK1P4HC could protect newborn mice from lethal HCoV-OC43 infection, suggesting that conjugation of 25-HC with a peptide-based viral inhibitor was a feasible and universal strategy to improve its antiviral activity.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Hydroxycholesterols/chemistry , Lipopeptides/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/drug effects , Amino Acid Sequence , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/therapeutic use , Body Weight/drug effects , COVID-19/drug therapy , COVID-19/virology , Coronavirus 229E, Human/drug effects , Coronavirus 229E, Human/pathogenicity , Coronavirus Infections/drug therapy , Coronavirus Infections/mortality , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Coronavirus OC43, Human/drug effects , Coronavirus OC43, Human/pathogenicity , Disease Models, Animal , Drug Synergism , Humans , Hydroxycholesterols/pharmacology , Hydroxycholesterols/therapeutic use , Lipopeptides/pharmacology , Lipopeptides/therapeutic use , Mice , Mice, Inbred BALB C , Polyethylene Glycols/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/isolation & purification , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Survival Rate , Virus Internalization/drug effects
6.
Signal Transduct Target Ther ; 6(1): 288, 2021 07 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1333906

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic poses a global threat to public health and economy. The continuously emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants present a major challenge to the development of antiviral agents and vaccines. In this study, we identified that EK1 and cholesterol-coupled derivative of EK1, EK1C4, as pan-CoV fusion inhibitors, exhibit potent antiviral activity against SARS-CoV-2 infection in both lung- and intestine-derived cell lines (Calu-3 and Caco2, respectively). They are also effective against infection of pseudotyped SARS-CoV-2 variants B.1.1.7 (Alpha) and B.1.1.248 (Gamma) as well as those with mutations in S protein, including N417T, E484K, N501Y, and D614G, which are common in South African and Brazilian variants. Crystal structure revealed that EK1 targets the HR1 domain in the SARS-CoV-2 S protein to block virus-cell fusion and provide mechanistic insights into its broad and effective antiviral activity. Nasal administration of EK1 peptides to hACE2 transgenic mice significantly reduced viral titers in lung and intestinal tissues. EK1 showed good safety profiles in various animal models, supporting further clinical development of EK1-based pan-CoV fusion inhibitors against SARS-CoV-2 and its variants.


Subject(s)
Antiviral Agents , COVID-19/drug therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus , Virus Internalization/drug effects , Animals , Antiviral Agents/chemistry , Antiviral Agents/pharmacology , Caco-2 Cells , Crystallography, X-Ray , Drug Evaluation, Preclinical , Humans , Mice, Transgenic , Protein Domains , SARS-CoV-2/chemistry , SARS-CoV-2/genetics , SARS-CoV-2/metabolism , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/chemistry , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/genetics , Spike Glycoprotein, Coronavirus/metabolism
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